Super computer's chess challenge

Watching UK chess supremo Michael Adams challenge a small laptop to a game of chess may not seem exactly like an apocalyptic fight to the death. But t

Watching UK chess supremo Michael Adams challenge a small laptop to a game of chess may not seem exactly like an apocalyptic fight to the death. But then again, he is taking on the world's most powerful chess computer Hydra, named after the mythological seven-headed monster famed for its invincibility. Adams says "nothing can match the power of human creativity." But with 200 million moves per second - each move taking more than 50,000 calculations - the backers are confident Hydra, who has never been beaten by a human, will reign triumphant. Hydra is a 64-way cluster computer and a wee bit on the heavy side to be lugged over here. Each of its 64 machines has an Intel Xeon 3.06 Ghz giving Hydra the processing power of more than 200 standard PCs. So, while the real seven headed beast is locked safely away, sweating its silicon brains out in a big room in Abu Dhabi, spectators will watch Adams challenge a rather unimpressive laptop. Hydra can be configured for a range of super-computing tasks beyond chess from DNA and finger print matching to space travel calculations. So if you don't like chess, watch this space. The six match chess tournament Man versus Machine: the battle for supremacy will take place at the Wembley Centre in London 21-27 June.